Braves 7, Nationals 6

Two things can be true at the same time: this team is really fun, and this team is really frustrating. The fun part is expansive. The team has life. The team has passion. The team has young stars. The team has old veterans. The team has exciting defenders, lights-out relievers, and everything you don’t want at the plate: power, speed, contact, the works.

The position players are built for the postseason. Tonight, it was more of the same. Ronald Acuna, Freddie Freeman (twice!), and Dansby Swanson all went yard. Six starters had hits (9 in total, but clearly they counted), and they saw 143 pitches in 9 innings. Love it.

But you know some negativity is coming. Good freaking gosh, can we stop having to look at journeymen starters? I’m sick of it. WE HAVE YOUNG PITCHERS WITH FRESH ARMS. Robbie Erlin — a disgrace to us Roberts! — is not fooling anyone, much like his replacement level brother Tommy Milone. Listen, it ain’t working. I pay to the Lord of Harvests that we have seen Robbie Erlin’s final season totals with Atlanta: 23.1 IP, 28 H, 6 BB, 22 ER, 8,49 ERA. Well, at least he threw strikes.

It’s right frickin’ here. The team is loaded. Between Cole Hamels, Kyle Wright, Touki Toussaint, Bryse Wilson, Mike Foltynewicz, and Sean Newcomb, I hope there are a couple starting pitchers out there. We’re running out of time, and we’re running out of offensive performances by this team. Or maybe we aren’t. But I’d like to win some games 7-2 and not 7-6. I guess I’m greedy like that.

39 thoughts on “Braves 7, Nationals 6”

  1. Well, I think Ronald stays in leadoff and Freddie stays batting second. That sound about right to you guys?

  2. Agree on the fun & frustrating parts. One thing that was frustrating to me was when, on the first-inning triple that went just under Duvall’s glove, Acuna wasn’t backing him up. I think that would’ve kept it to a double, though Turner(?) would’ve scored later anyway.

    I wonder if the clubhouse dynamic is a little strange. Nearly all the position players currently on the roster (except Inciarte & Markakis) have been doing really well recently and probably are very relaxed and happy. Even Hech is contributing. Most of the bullpen has been lights-out. But except for Anderson and Tomlin, the active starters have to be frustrated and embarrassed and feeling like they’re not contributing. I know there’s always someone slumping or having a poor year, but it just seems like an extreme spread on this team.

  3. As someone who aggravated an old softball thumb injury the other day attempting to throw a towel over the shower curtain bar, I sympathize. As does former Brave Randy Johnson!

  4. There is no reason to continue to start the Erlins anymore. What do they give us that the young guys don’t? The only reason I can think of is the front office knows our young pitchers are overrated and they don’t want to hurt their trade value.

    At this point, I am for giving Wright, Touki, Newk and Davidson the starts. They can’t be worse.

    I will say last night was the best win of the year.

  5. @5 In think based on the sentiments expressed on here over the last several days that most of the board agrees with your sentiment that the likes of Erlin and Millone should be cast aside for the young pitchers that couldn’t be worse and might actually develop. I am stumped as to why we keep trotting these dudes out there.

  6. I suppose there is some value in not risking ruining a prospect who is deemed not ready, and let the journeymen take the beatings. As the coach said to Rudy: “Your main value to us is, we don’t care if you get hurt.”

    Personally, when I’m in a bad spot, I’d rather gamble on upside.

  7. I legitimately felt pity for Erlin last night. It’s not like he was throwing everything down the middle. He was painting corners and still getting rocked. What a hopeless feeling.

    On another note, does anything think that-in a full season- this offense would be talked about as one of the best in Braves history? With Ozzie back, it’s a damn solid 1-9, at least when Ender isn’t in there. Several guys at peak form right now.

  8. Will we get 2 roster moves today? Surely Ynoa will be going to the alt-site and Erlin will finally get the boot.

  9. #10
    Well, if it were a full season, remember, there would be no DH.

    The everyday lineup may not have Ender in there much. He’d be that late-inning defensive replacement.

    So, perhaps, Ozuna in LF, RAJ in CF & Duval/Nick platoon in RF. A little different, right?

  10. Question: Who thinks the 2021 season gets started on time? I’ve been encouraged by how things have gone vis-a-vis the virus in this short season.

  11. @13 I fully expect it will. We are hardly seeing infections in major sports due to the (now) proven precautions and rules in place. Question for me is, will fans be allowed back into the stadiums next April?

  12. @10 – Great question. At least for Braves teams I have witnessed, the best lineup is either this one, 1998, or 2003.

    I still lean 2003 only because that lineup had no “bad” hitters in the daily batting order. 1998 and 2020 still have to put Keith Lockhart and Ender somewhere.

  13. Imagine if we could have found more than 1 competent starter for this year given the bullpen and scoring ability by the line up (such as it is on certain days.) It was mentioned some few days ago that back in the spring, we thought the issue would be the line up and starters would be fine with too many pitchers to choose from. It’s a weird season, to be sure, but who’d have thought Soroka would be lost for the season plus, King Felix would opt out after a promising spring, Folty would waste any good effort he’d accumulated since 2018, Newk would shit the bed in his only start of the season (instead of remaining in the bullpen where he should be) and all of our hot young arms (that many have been salivating over as they peruse their minor league careers) would be unable to put it together for at least one game (well, OK…Touki had the one before he stopped throwing strikes) ?

    It’s been stated over and over (and is true) that this is a patchwork rotation, Fried notwithstanding (and his latest injury is merely one more unkind cut.) In a normal season, Folty would have been given a longer leash, Newk might have been stretched out more to see if he could hit the zone with frequency, the young ones would be given every chance to show their worth and the trade deadline might have looked extremely different without the expanded playoffs with more teams willing to deal.

    But putting aside the idea that ATL does not know how to develop young pitchers (which is surely debatable but not a proven fact regardless of the product on the field right now) the largest hole that I see is the organization’s unwillingness to pony up the money for a prime free agent starter. Our biggest splash in that regard this last offseason was Cole Hamels who is doing his best Mike Hampton impression at the moment. A past his prime 36 year old pitcher that has middle of the rotation stuff at this date in his career. An innings eater, possibly, should he ever actually toe the rubber for Atlanta, but not a game changer.

    That said, of all of the prime free agent starters this past offseason, which one might have been that game changer if Liberty/AA were willing to open up the bank vault? Gerrit Cole and his $36 million who does not appear to have carried over his Houston form? Strasburg, Bumgarner or even resigning Keuchel all of which are on the IL just like Fried at the moment? Possibly Wheeler or Ryu, both of whom seem to be having good/fine seasons?

    Say we had signed one of them, finally putting paid the idea that we won’t pony up for the big name. That’s still just one game in five in which we stand a good chance to hold the other team down for 5 innings. For all else, we don’t know that Fried won’t develop his blisters again or find a lingering back problem. We don’t know how Anderson will deal with the league adjusting to him. We don’t know when/if the young starters we stock piled will ever gain the form or promise AA sees in them. We don’t know that a season like Folty’s 2018 might turn into the steam pile that his current trajectory looks like. And we don’t know that giving ALL THE MONEY to a front line #1 starter would actually change the tide.

    I’m agreeing with many others, but have to say that the above is an attempt to say that I don’t know the answer. Our line up is finally ready for prime time. Our bullpen is mostly lights out. And no one could have guessed that our starting pitching would be such a dumpster fire, even in this weird year (Chief’s questioning of their talents duly noted.) Unless we just scrap The Plan ™ and sign 3 or 4 prime free agent starters or start sending away by trade the now lessor talents of these young arms to gather 3 or 4 dependable (and actual) starting pitchers, I have to agree that we are wasting our window at the moment. But then return to the above question…who and for how much?

    I’m rambling because I don’t have the answer and it is just frustrating. Great win last night but I can’t help thinking it is still just smoke and mirrors without a dependable starter. With just 2, we might have an opportunity come the playoffs. As it is now, we are likely to see yet one more first round exit (especially this year.)

  14. Barring an awful flu season with second wave of corona, I too expect a normal schedule next year. They may still have to do the frequent testing, but I think they will try to play 162.

  15. Just waltzing through the MLBTR list of FA SPs available for the 2021 season. Feels like there are a lot of guys that would want to re-establish value on 1 yr deals:
    •Robbie Ray
    •Chris Archer
    •Tyler Chatwood
    •James Paxton
    •Jose Quintana
    •Marcus Stroman

  16. @18 – isn’t that just more patchwork, though? If AA just wants to do 1 yr deals, there remains Bauer.

    ETA – And yes, I think we get a full season next year.

  17. I would abandon interleague play in 2021, and put some number of 7-inning doubleheaders on the schedule to increase the number of off-days to allow for rescheduling.

  18. Ok…I’ve heard some talk about 2021’s bullpen. Here’s who’s likely here for next year:

    •Chris Martin
    •Darren O’Day
    •Will Smith
    •AJ Minter
    •Tyler Matzek
    •Luke Jackson
    •Grant Dayton
    •Jacob Webb
    •Jeremy Walker
    •Phil Pfeifer
    •Patrick Weigel
    •Huascar Ynoa

    I cannot imagine there’ll be a need to add here.

  19. If the Braves get to rely on Pache in CF for 2021 and Drew Waters at some point, Ozuna, while a luxury, would not be a need and the Braves could allocate said funds to grab a few starters off the above list.

  20. Hey, y’all. Don’t think I’ve visited the site since before Spring Training got shut down, but glad to see things are going well here!

    This team is so weird. Truly a marvel to watch the combination of starting-pitching-disaster and everything-else-awesome on a nightly basis. The resurrection of Adam Duvall has been particularly satisfying. I was fine with Thoppy not overpaying for deadline pitching in such a weird, uncertain year, but…yikes.

    Go Braves!

  21. If you can figure out why the Braves would rather have the desiccated husk of Ender Inciarte listlessly patrolling center field while Christian Pache cools his heels playing three games a week if he’s lucky, then mister, you’re a better man than me.

  22. As regards the line up going into next year, it again depends on if there is a DH or not. Without, likely yes Ozuna is not a need. It’s sort of amazing how easily it is to pencil in the positions at this point:

    1B- Freeman
    2B- Albies
    3B- Riley (who has so far solidified his spot)
    SS – Swanson
    LF- Duvall
    CF- Pache (ideally)
    RF- Acuna
    C- D’Arnaud (or possibly Realmuto if we want to spend the $ on something other than pitching)

    All remain under control/contract but there are still the starters to deal with, but maybe some $ is left over or we finally trade some stock.

  23. (It took this long for Stu to pass me in the Biff Krunkoroba league standings.) :)

    Which reminds me, I’m sure it’s been said here but RIP to said league’s patron saint and purveyor of fine sausages, Biff Pocoroba.

  24. If DH – then we either spend the $ on Ozuna, the husk of Neck or find another one year rental (or in my fevered dreams, sign Julio Franco to show he’s still got it in his 60’s!)

  25. It’s funny we’re talking about this because I was thinking about the 2021 roster this morning as well. But I’m not worried about the lineup or bullpen. This rotation problem isn’t going anywhere. Sure, Soroka comes back, and that’ll be huge, but Anderson was really the last calvary coming over the hill. Internally, I think we’re running out of solutions unless Wright takes the jump. Davidson, Ynoa, and de la Cruz are all wild cards. Maybe Muller is an option, but probably not for 2021.

    I’m suffering from pitching prospect fatigue at the moment. So many names, such little production.

  26. What’s yalls take on possibly stretching Ynoa out more to start?

    Sure, he could be a great reliever – – but is his truest & best ceiling as a starter?

    (I’ll hang up and listen)

    (RIP Skip Caray getting asked on the radio show about infield fly – – some good stuff)

  27. @33 – Ynoa has appeared in 7 games and started in 3. Through all that he has only logged 14.2 innings. His ERA is 6.75 and his WHIP 1.91. I don’t think Ynoa is an answer to anything – at least not this year.

  28. Nothing I’ve ever seen from Huascar Ynoa has made me think he’s a starter. I think he’s Cristhian Martinez. And honestly, if he can actually pull that off, and regularly manage two to three innings with zero to one run given up, then that would be stellar.

  29. It doesn’t seem crazy that Anderson becomes an ace, joined by Soroka and Fried for an elite top three. He’s one of those guys that I think is here to stay. Seems likely they’ll sign another vet to one-year deal hoping Wright and one other guy can figure it out.

  30. @35 – – that’s an interesting Ynoa comparison: Cristhian Martinez – – but with a little extra ZIP and some arm angle to leverage.

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